3 & 30

I was twelve when my mother turned thirty.

We went to O’Charley’s for her birthday dinner. I had the same thing I always got back then: chicken tenders with extra honey mustard. Someone in our dysfunctional entourage told the hostess it was my mother’s birthday, and at the end of dinner all the waiters and waitresses came marching up with a small cake, clapping and singing Happy Birthday. My mother’s face turned red.

Get ready for the slide, my grandfather told her, making downhill motions with his hand. My mother believed him, back then, in 1998.

Right side of thirty, wrong side, what do they use nowadays, as a measure of terminated youth? But numbers don’t matter; events do.

Whether you like it or not, your youth ends the day your children are born. The downcycle of your life begins and no song is sweeter.

…their replacement. The day was coming (sooner than either of them realized or wanted to admit) when Julia would be a grown woman and both of them would be old, on the wrong wrong side of thirty, what hisgrandfather had called the top of the slide. How Julia acted, what she did, it all depended on how they raised her. Like it or not, the moment your child is born, the downcycle of your life begins, whether you’re high school sweethearts or early thirties professionals.